Smith Falls, Ontario, January 13, 2017 – Parks Canada has altered the scope of ongoing repairs to the Rideau Canal walls between Bank Street and Pig Island to provide time for further investigation of on-site contaminants before proceeding with further in-water repairs.

The Ottawa area portion of the Rideau Canal has a rich history of commercial and industrial uses and is in the middle of a heavily populated urban area. As a result of this legacy, precautions are always taken when conducting repairs because of the potential presence of contaminates associated with the canal’s past use and its location.

During the initial stages of repairs to the canal walls, Parks Canada noted that potentially contaminated sediment in the area of construction had been disturbed and immediately paused work to evaluate the disturbance and review safety measures that were in place. While the impact of the disruption was minimized, initial tests confirmed the presence of contaminants within the sediment at the construction site.

Repairs to the upper portion of the walls, the railings, and the pathway will continue this year as this work will not result in any further disturbance of the sediment.

Contaminated sediment presents a very low risk to the public as this type of contamination is generally only a concern if there is dermal contact or ingestion. Additionally, Parks Canada is taking a precautionary approach to ensure that the repairs are conducted in the most responsible manner.

This project is part of Parks Canada’s unprecedented $3 billion dollar investment over 5 years to support infrastructure work to heritage, visitor, waterway, and highway assets located within national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas across Canada. These historic investments will mitigate health and safety risks, halt the loss of nationally significant built heritage, and stimulate the economy in communities across the country.

For up-to-date news on infrastructure work along the Rideau Canal, please visit our website: If you would like to be added to our community engagement list and receive updates on this project, please e-mail

Darryl Whitehead
External Relations Manager
Ontario Waterways
Parks Canada